Inter defenders doubtful for decisive derby

MILAN - Brief news ahead of this weekend's Serie A matches.

Inter Milan defender Lucio is suspended for Saturday's derby with league leaders AC Milan while fellow centre-back Andrea Ranocchia faces a late fitness test along with left-back Cristian Chivu.

Injury-prone striker Diego Milito may make the bench.

Inter, managed by last season's Milan coach Leonardo and seeking a sixth straight scudetto with eight games left, will storm top with a win against their rivals in one of the biggest derbies for years.

Milan are without suspended former Inter striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and are in shaky form but midfielder Clarence Seedorf, another ex-Inter player, has rallied the troops after some team mates had attempted to play down the significance of the game.

"I say that this derby is decisive. On a psychological level, it counts a lot, anyone who says otherwise is a liar," the Dutchman told a news conference.

Inter's build-up has been partly upset by president Massimo Moratti being called to give evidence to the soccer federation over accusations his club were also involved in the 2006 match-fixing scandal and should have that year's scudetto stripped.

Moratti, who denies any role in the affair for which Juventus and Milan were among those punished, told reporters: "It was important I was here. You'll have to ask them how it went but it was a calm and educated meeting. I am more than convinced of my position."

Third-placed Napoli, three points behind Milan, host Lazio in fifth in another big game on Sunday with doubts over the fitness of midfielder Juan Zuniga because of an ankle injury.

Lazio boss Edy Reja has hinted he may change formation for the clash as he tries to revive their Champions League hopes.

Sixth-placed AS Roma welcome Juventus in seventh in Sunday's late match with anticipation building over Thomas Di Benedetto's consortium taking over of the capital club.

"Winning the scudetto as soon as possible is the aim," the American, who denied there were problems with UEFA given he has been part of the group which owns Liverpool, told reporters.

"In reality, we hope for success this season because qualifying for the Champions League would count as a great victory."

Juventus are injury-riddled for the game with striker Vincenzo Iaquinta possibly out for the season, defender Giorgio Chiellini missing for maybe a month and Alessandro Del Piero doubtful with a knock.

Udinese, looking to cling on to the fourth and final Champions League qualifying spot, travel to relegation-threatened Lecce on Sunday with no new injuries following the international break.